In the first few months of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic has literally shut the world down. Schools, industries, sports leagues, entertainment and cultural events, as well as businesses big and small, have all ceased operating in a manner so sudden and complete it would have been unfathomable just weeks before.
Yet business must go on. And Liveoak is here to ensure financial institutions not only emerge unscathed from this crisis, but come out the other side even stronger. How? By using technology and innovation to help companies get business done and financial transactions completed even while their workers and their customers are remote. We’re helping companies ensure their continuity plans are seamless and robust in ways that will earn them the enduring loyalty of their clients.
Now more than ever, remote solutions are crucial tools for financial institutions. Companies that move quickly to secure online transactions clearly have a strategic advantage over those that are digitally disengaged from their customer base. And those companies who deliver these technology solutions with a personal, human touch are in an even superior position.
This white paper will outline the need to quickly transform manual processes to digital workflows, how to provide digital access to agreements to meet current demands, and how to adopt technology to help your business grow — all in a way that meets bank-grade Information Security standards. Importantly, these processes can run alongside existing architecture and serve as a shorter-term solution that runs in tandem with long-term, large-scale legacy system overhaul projects.
No sector or business is immune from the pandemic. The shift to primarily remote operations could go on for months, not just weeks. Those team members who are remote have to be fully trained and equipped to serve clients from home for an extended period if necessary.
Clients and customers, meantime, are also remote and must be assured that any information they’re passing along to financial institutions and their team members is protected with the most vigilant security protocols possible. This means financial institutions must employ trusted digital platforms while being as responsive and available to their clients as humanly possible.
That’s because one of the most disturbing phenomena to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic has been a wave of cyber crime. Bad actors are going to extraordinary lengths to take advantage of the crisis, aiming scams at businesses large and small, and consumers alike.
The top cyber security agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom recently issued an alert warning that cyber criminals are stepping up attacks particularly against newly—and often rapidly—deployed remote access and teleworking infrastructure.
That’s why it’s not enough for financial institutions to rely on consumer platforms like Zoom and other consumer web conferencing platforms.
Indeed, the FBI has already had to issue a warning about so-called Zoom-bombing after cyber criminals hijacked company Zoom meetings. While the company claimed to use end-to-end encryption, user video and audio content from meetings is not, in fact, end-to-end encrypted. It was discovered that Zoom was letting users surreptitiously access data from some LinkedIn profiles. The company is being sued in California for sharing users’ personal data via its Facebook iOS app, even when users don’t have Facebook accounts. Clearly, while they might serve a purpose in the consumer market, these types of platforms are not nearly secure enough for use by financial institutions.
THE SOLUTION TO GETTING BUSINESS DONE — DURING AND AFTER THE PANDEMIC
Historically, complex, multi-step applications and workflows are most successful when completed in person. Why? Because you must walk customers through lengthy applications, verify their identity, collect supplemental documentation and obtain required signatures/acknowledgements. Clearly, during this pandemic, the ability to conduct in-person transactions is drastically reduced, if not completely eliminated.
Liveoak’s flexible cloud technology platform allows financial institutions to accomplish financial transactions in a virtual environment as if you were in person. Our platform fits seamlessly into any company’s technology stack and is designed to meet even the most stringent legal, risk and compliance requirements of any business. And every engagement moment, keystroke, photo and electronic signature can be fully captured using our Complete Audit.™
Via our secure conferencing capabilities, businesses can perform such transactions as:
- Account opening for business banking, wealth, insurance, retirement and any industry that is subject to compliance and regulation
- Account reviews (ex: wealth management investment account review)
- Account maintenance (change of beneficiary, adjustments to funding or account)
- Product applications (ex: insurance, annuity)
- Banking identity verification (KYC) and supplemental documentation collection (ex: utility bill)
- Insurance claim submission and review
- Investigative insurance interviews (suspected fraud)
- Warranty claim submission
- Loan applications
How can you get started? To help companies quickly and securely transform their digital efforts, Liveoak is offering a toolkit based on best practices we’ve learned by working with some of the largest banks and financial institutions in the world.
Start small. Don’t try to solve too much too fast. Prioritize what you need to deploy immediately, and do more as you go along. This gives the added advantage of discovering best practices and ironing out wrinkles early before a widespread deployment.
Create a ‘TSA Pre-Check lane’ for procurement, since it can often be the longest and most-drawn out step. Start early and figure out what your “fast lane” is: in other words, determine what processes you can move most rapidly on and get your Information Security team involved right from the start.
Ease requirements when possible. For example, one client, a large financial institution, recently had an urgent need to onboard our platform. In lieu of the client’s laborious questionnaire and lengthy processes, we suggested they use our existing third-party validation reports, including our:
- Type 2 SOC 2 Report,
- Standard Information Gathering (SIG) report and
- Financial Audit Report
With that, a six-month procurement period was whittled down to two months. This may not always be possible due to regulatory requirements, but consider it when you need to urgently close deals or sign-on new clients.
Create a clear implementation plan with measurable key performance indicators. KPIs are critical and provide your team with solid data that benefits future work and helps bring on new clients. Existing clients use KPIs such as:
- % reduction in paperwork,
- % reduction in not-in-good-order (NIGO) insurance documents,
- reduction in the number of days in the sales process between a “verbal sold” confirmation to “completed in good order paperwork,” and
- % increase in electronic submissions
Design a basic “remote readiness” checklist for your employees. We can provide video conferencing etiquette, training and tips that ensure your employees extend your company’s professionalism. Things such as choosing the right background and lighting, framing the camera correctly, muting when not speaking, etc.
CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY
A Fortune 500 Insurance Company piloted Liveoak’s technology in 2019 in their claims department, which traditionally required an examiner to conduct an in-person interview with the client. Even during the current pandemic’s travel restriction, the company continues to see their clients and still get claims processed — virtually. In fact, their use of the Liveoak platform has increased 300%.
Here is what one of their employees had to say:
As stay at home restrictions began, there was media chatter with our team and I kept saying: ‘thank goodness we have the Liveoak tool available.’
We operate with a customer base with high expectations and they rely on us heavily. We are the eyes, ears, and mouths of the claims department in the field. Since we are not able to meet with these folks in person right now, the ability to use video, expand video screen, take video clips, take image captures, has been a savior for us. In reality, it’s allowed us to continue business with minimal impact. We’re getting really good feedback from customers. They understand the restriction we’re operating in. For them to recognize that we’re still here and we adjusted pretty much at the second things happened. I was online when the company notice came out about no business travel. For my team, that’s vehicle and airplane. I immediately forwarded that email to [the leadership team] and said I have never been happier at an issue that we’ve encountered knowing that we already have a tool we have been working with for a while and it’s in a really good place now.
I had a long 2.5 hour interview with a tax attorney from Seattle. He had Parkinson’s disease. The video quality was phenomenal. I could see that he was expressionless, he could display his tremor for me. The customer has come to rely on us for observations – how somebody comes across – are they embellishing on symptoms of their claim? 80% is body language. You’re focusing on how they’re answering questions. You’re looking at how they react, are they hesitating, speech inflection change, all that. Having video puts us in a better position, and as a result, we’ve been able to continue to do business. We realize how fortunate we are. The fact that we’re still doing the interviews via the conference tool is phenomenal.
A Fortune 500 Financial Institution began doing business virtually with Liveoak long before the pandemic hit North America. They’ve had great success – seeing adoption increase from 5% to over 80% in a 2-year period. As a result, the shift to remote work was seamless and ‘business as usual.’
[Quote on hindsight – this being an invaluable tech deploy; and now the focus has turn to expanding into new use cases across the organization]
A Fortune 500 Bank with more than 3,000 branches and 75,000 employees implemented the Liveoak platform in stages and started with “user experience testing.”
This stage was crucial to gain feedback on how, when and where to implement new solutions across their customer base. Feedback like this, early in the process, led to a rapid and successful implementation.
It was very good because it kept me engaged and it pulled me through the application process… had I been stuck on my own, I would have just disappeared and not completed the application.
A leading Global Bank and Wealth Firm deployed Liveoak and enabled their Relationship Managers to re-create an in-person branch meeting to perform KYC requirements, as well as adding additional ways to build and maintain trusted relationships.
This is the biggest game changer to hit our business in the past 10 years, and is market leading technology which will revolutionise the way we interact with our clients. [One of our clients] is 88 yrs old – and was able to participate without any issues!
In times of great uncertainty, business leaders have to step up to become innovative problem-solvers. And Liveoak is here to help financial institutions large and small to do just that. We’re with you every step of the way.
Reputations are built — and lost — during times of crisis. Companies that demonstrate good citizenship and do whatever possible to assist their clients will be rewarded handsomely in the post-pandemic world. What’s more, equipping employees and clients alike with the tools they need to succeed helps attract talent and build a loyal workforce and customer base.
And those companies that move quickly during the crisis will have a strategic and likely permanent advantage in the post-pandemic economy over competitors who scrambled and lagged behind.
That’s partly because after the shutdowns are lifted, many clients and customers will expect more integration of online and offline offerings. It’s also likely they will be more at ease with remote-first technologies like video conferencing.
It’s clear the post-pandemic future will be different. Liveoak is here to ensure financial institutions own it and excel in it. The future is ours, together.
This post was co-authored by Liveoak’s Co-founder and President, Andy Ambrose and guest, Lisa Kottler.
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